Trial Judges in Liberia have warned lawyers to stop castigating them in public over matters that could be dealt with by executing available legal remedies.
Delivering the judges' charge on Wednesday at the Criminal Circuit Court "A", Temple of Justice in Monrovia during the opening of Courts 'A', 'B' 'C' and 'D' respectively, Judge Yussif D. Kabba cited an instance of a lawyer (name withheld) who openly castigated judges among prominent personalities in Liberia.
"Quite recently, I was informed by a lawyer that they were in some gathering where few lawyers and prominent members of our society were in discussions."
"I was told by this lawyer that there was member of the bar at this gathering that was very negatively critical of judges in our system," said Judge Kabba.
The judge argued that while judges are not immune from criticisms, they become a disservice to the system if those criticisms are not meant to solve problems within the Judiciary but to paint individuals black.
He said every decision of a judge is subject to review [by higher court], thereby warning that the legal profession is a noble profession therefore, legal practitioners should not pursue a trend that will unnecessarily paint a negative image of the judicial system here.
Judge Kabba said if a lawyer is unsatisfied over a decision rendered by judges at lower courts, the legal practice in Liberia mandates the review of judges' decision at higher courts, unlike other jurisdictions where the reviewing court has the right to either agree or disagree to review the decision of a judge.
In the process of reviewing the judges' decision at a higher court, Judge Kabba said not only the critical lawyer will learn, but also the judge and other lawyers would learn from the higher court's corrective measures that will be taken during its intervention. He however challenged legal practitioners to respect the decision of judges, in an effort to protect the legal system in Liberia.
However, Judge Kabba has expressed appreciation to the Government of Liberia for the infrastructural development the judiciary is experiencing, including logistics for judges, coupled with "a marked improvement" in the system, as well as the building of judges and staffs' capacity, among others. He described as insignificant, two percent (2%) budgetary allotment for the judiciary in the 2012/2013 fiscal budget.
In a separate response, Montserrado County Bar Association President Sam Y. Cooper, blamed young lawyers for the castigation of judges, most of whom he said are not affiliating with any law firm upon graduation from law school. But Cllr. Cooper has also urged judges to be tolerant rather than being temperamental in dealing with lawyers, among others.